The Qwillery | category: Lois McMaster Bujold


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day to me!!!!!!! and to any other Canadian's reading this post. If you are celebrating I hope you are doing something fun. I have been busy trying to keep cool. We are having a heat wave in the UK. Practically unheard of but it has been in the high twenties for the last 2 weeks. It would be great if I didn't have to go to work as commuting on the tube is a bit like having a sauna with several hundred people. No fun! However, I am not going to complain its still nice having sunshine and blue skies. Enough of my weather report what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
My sister and I love Lois McMaster Bujold and she especially loves the Penric novella series which is set in the World of the Five Gods. We went on holiday to Rome together and in between visiting one amazing landmark after another I would steal her Kindle to read the Penric series. I will tell you a little bit about each book in turn and then review the series as a whole so that I don't have to repeat myself too much.

First in the series is Penric's Demon where we are introduced to the young man Penric as he travels to meet his betrothed. On the way he stops to help an elderly lady who has fallen ill and near death. Little did he know this chance meeting would change his life forever. The elderly lady is none other than a servant of a god - The Bastard God - and she gifts to Penric something that many think is a curse - a demon. With one simple touch Penric now shares his body with a demon who has lived over 12 lives ...10 of which were women. Now Penric has to share his body with a female demon. What mischief and mishap will the demon (who Penric names Desdemona) get Penric into?

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
Book number 2 - Penric and the Shaman finds our hero Penric a few years older and now a Divine in the Bastard's Order. When a shaman is accused of murdering his friend and escaping the 'law' Penric is called upon to help with the search. However, its not just a simple search and apprehend for Penric. All of his skills and those of his demon Desdemona will be needed to avoid further bloodshed.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
In Penric's Fox Penric has joined his two new friends who we meet in Penric's Shaman - Shaman Inglis and Locator Oswyl. When they stumble upon the murder of a fellow sorceress whose demon is missing Penric knows he needs to team up with his friends to solve this mystery. Needless to say Desdemona has a huge part to play in both helping solve the murder and ensuring that Penric doesn't become the next victim.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
It was supposed to be a simple undercover mission to enlist the support of the Duke of Adria in Penric's Mission. Penric's first mission ends almost before it begins when he is captured and locked in a dungeon. Luckily he isn't alone as Desdemona is always there with him (really inside him). He manages to escape and ends up helping a young widow and her grievously injured brother. Penric and Desdemona have to use every trick in the book to get out of this situation in one piece.

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
Hot on the heels of Penric's Mission is Mira's Last Dance. Penric is injured while trying to help the widow Nikys and her nearly blinded brother General Arisaydia, escape across Cedonia. He finds he has to call upon Desdemona and the expertise of one of the demon's twelve riders - this time of the courtesan Mira. This is almost the biggest test yet for Penric!

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018
Finally, ending the series is The Prisoner of Limnos which is the sequel to Mira's Last Dance. Having helped Nikys and her brother escape to Orbas Penric had hoped that his life might return to normal. It's not the case for the young man and his chaos demon. When Nikys mother is kidnapped and held prisoner in a women's sanctuary Penric knows he needs to help free her. Another adventure for Penric and his chaos demon Desdemona.

I really enjoyed this series. Bujold knows how to create interesting and emphatic characters. I don't always enjoy stories that aren't full novel length (short stories especially) as I feel that characterisation can be lacking or that the story/plot isn't as rich and full as it could be. Not the case with the Penric & Desdemona series. The internal dialogue between Penric and Desdemona helps to shape both characters giving both background and description of the surroundings/environment. The plot in each of the earlier books is well constructed and each work well as standalone stories. The final 3 are all interconnected but the main plotline is resolved at the end of each. I read these back to back and I really wished they could have gone on further. If you are new to Bujold then this is a great introduction to this fantastic author.

That's it for me. I hope you had a great week and have a great book ready for next week. I know I do! Until next week Happy Reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016

Welcome to April everyone! I hope you didn't get fooled on April Fools Day. For once I didn't get suckered because I usually fall for something on that day. I had a much more productive week reading than I did last week. So what did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
UK Cover
I re-read one of the books that was featured earlier this week in a cover reveal. I have chosen to use the cover from the edition that I read last August when the book was first released in the UK. Check out the gorgeous cover that will be used when the book is released in May in the US. You can also read how Saulter was involved in the cover design. This is really interesting so check it out here.

Anyway, I read book the book last year so I had a quick re-read to refresh myself of the plot. It wasn't hard - either to re-read this great book or to remind myself what happened. Unlike in book 2 - Binary - all of my favourite characters from book 1 - Gemsigns - are back. Gaela and Bal have continued to raise Gabriel who is now 18 along with his young, but human sister Eve. This plot centres around the gillung (amphibian humanoids) who have built a thriving community along the the Thames and have developed a new energy source. This has changed the balance of power between the human population and the gems which has led to violence and the inevitable propaganda against the gems which Gabriel is trying to resolve. This plot is interwoven with the that of Zavcka Klist, who is released from prison. What is almost more chilling than her release are the followers that are more than happy to help her gain the life she used to have. Can Mikael, Sharon Varsi, Herron, and Aryel succeed in helping the gillung bring parity to their race while at the same time thwart whatever plot Klist has in the making? I will leave that with you to find out.

Regeneration is a fantastic final book of a fantastic series. I loved every minute of reading and re-reading this novel. As I mentioned my favourite characters from book 1 were back, some of my faves from book 2 and I discovered some new ones. Ayrel is still very much the star of this series but is back to sharing the limelight with the uber antagonist Klist. While I did guess quite a few of the story's big reveals I still enjoyed the build up to the ending and how Saulter developed the characters along the way. You could read this as a stand alone book but why miss out on two other excellent books. Enjoy readers!

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
I have been a big fan of Lois McMaster Bujold for a long time. I have read and enjoyed a number of the Vorkosigan series but boy I was let down this time by Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. This story starts three years after Aral Vorkosigan's death and Cordelia decides to take her life in a new direction by having the children they never had together. She decides to make the same offer to Aral's officer and companion Admiral Oliver Jole. Neither of their lives are ever going to be the same again.

My sister Lauranne and I had a big discussion about this book as she was an even bigger fan of the series than I was. We both felt let down by this book as it seemed incongruous with everything we were led to believe about Aral and Cordelia's loving marriage. Personally, I found the story too slow and didn't really think there was much of a plot. This was the only reason why I could read this book in a mere few hours whereas other books in the series took much longer. If you are a big fan of this series I would advise you to avoid it as you learn aspects of Aral and Cordelia's life that you would rather you didn't know and that didn't seem true to their characters.

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
Book number 3 for me was The Demon's Librarian by Lilith Saintcrow. I apologise, dear reader, for exposing you to one of the worst book covers I have seen in some time. I know, I know...not the author's fault but this one is pretty poor. Qwill has found a different cover for the book. I digress.

Francesca Barnes is not your typical librarian. She kicks demon butt in her spare time. Orion is part demon but one of the good guys and when his partner goes missing he needs the help of a not so bookish librarian. With a dark force rising Francesca is key to stopping the evil but will she accept the help of a tall, hunky demon?

I thought this book was OK. Francesca wasn't a wimp which I appreciated although she seemed to swoon quite a bit. Orion or Ryan as he was called was your fairly standard, tall, dark and demon but otherwise, a good pairing for the not-so librarian. This is a quick, easy read for a slow day and overall, I didn't think it was a waste of time.

That is it for me for this week. I hope you have had a good week and until next Sunday, Happy Reading.

(R)evolution Book 3
Jo Fletcher Books, May 3, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 336 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
The gillungs are thriving. The water-breathing, genetically modified humans have colonized riverbanks and ports long abandoned to the rising seas and pioneered new high-efficiency quantum-battery technology.

But as demand grows, so do fears about their impact on both norm businesses and the natural environment. Then, a biohazard scare at Sinkat, their colony on the Thames, fuels the opposition and threatens to derail the gillungs’ progress. But is this an accident, or is it sabotage?

Detective Sharon Varsi has her suspicions, and Gabriel sees parallels in the propaganda war he’s fighting; politicians and corporations have stakes in this game too. And now there is a new threat: industry tycoon Zavcka Klist is about to be released from prison—and she’s out to regain everything they took from her.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
Vorkosigan Saga 14
Baen, February 2, 2016
Hardcover and eBook, 352 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
A NEW NOVEL IN THE AWARD WINNING SERIES FROM MULTIPLE NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING AUTHOR LOIS MCMASTER BUJOLD!  Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan returns to the planet that changed her destiny.


Three years after her famous husband’s death, Cordelia Vorkosigan, widowed Vicereine of Sergyar, stands ready to spin her life in a new direction. Oliver Jole, Admiral, Sergyar Fleet, finds himself caught up in her web of plans in ways he’d never imagined, bringing him to an unexpected crossroads in his career.

Meanwhile, Miles Vorkosigan, one of Emperor Gregor’s key investigators, this time dispatches himself on a mission of inquiry, into a mystery he never anticipated – his own mother.

Plans, wills, and expectations collide in this sparkling science-fiction social comedy, as the impact of galactic technology on the range of the possible changes all the old rules, and Miles learns that not only is the future not what he expects, neither is the past.

The Demon's Librarian
ImaJinn Books, February 28, 2009
Trade Paperback and eBook, 206 pages
Review Copy: Reviewer's Own

Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016
It's not just another day at the library...

When demons are preying on schoolchildren in her city, Francesca Barnes does what any red-blooded librarian would do she does some research and goes hunting. But the books she finds in a secret cache don't tell her the whole story. Chess has no idea what she's just stepped into or just how special she really is...

Orion (Ryan) is Drakul, part demon, and a loyal servant of the Order. He doesn't expect a motorcycle-riding librarian to be messing around with demonic forces, and he doesn't expect her to smell so damn good. But Ryan's got bigger problems. His partner has disappeared, and the forces of Darkness are rising. Now Chess is Ryan's only hope of finding his partner, and Ryan is Chess's only hope of survival, because the demons now know Chess exists and that she is the heir to a long-lost power that could push back their dark tide.

If Ryan can keep her alive long enough, she just might be the key to destroying the demons completely. But Ryan doesn't know he's been betrayed by the very Order he serves. And if Chess does, by some miracle, survive, he won't ever be able to touch her again...

Melanie's Week in Review - July 1, 2018Melanie's Week in Review - April 3, 2016

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